Is this a case of an epidemic or simply a case of better investigative methods are now finding something that has been there all along? Brain eating amoeba sounds like the stuff of horrible science fiction but in Louisiana water systems it appears to be the real thing.

The state's Department of Health and Hospitals announced yesterday that a fourth Louisiana water system has now shown the presence of this organism. The North Monroe Water System which serves the town of Sterlington has announced findings that indicate the presence of the amoeba.

Dr. Jimmy Guidry with DHH explained to the Louisiana Radio Network the common thread that his office has uncovered.

Well, what we're finding is a pattern where it's difficult to maintain disinfectant, like chlorine residual, that the amoeba can get into the water systems.

The water system plans to do a 60 day chlorine burn to deal with the presence of the amoeba. They will also hold a town hall meeting in Sterlington tonight to address public questions and concerns. The water is still safe to drink however there are certain uses that Dr. Guidry warns about.

We don't want people to not use the water.  We just want to make sure that if they use it, they use it appropriately.  Not us it in an neti pot or use it on their slip-n-slide for the kids or get it way up their nose.

It appears as though the amoeba does its damage when introduced to the human body through the nose. That is the reason for the specific precaution.